Of all the Tanteks I know, runner Tantek is the most vulnerable & insecure.

After six+ years of running, several times a week nearly every week, he still reacts with fear every time I wake him up to run. Every time I have to walk him through a regular morning routine, small steps, to convince him that it’s worth at least waking up and considering going for a run before anything else.

Put on your running glasses instead of your normal glasses. Brush your teeth and take some vitamins. Go to the bathroom if you have to.

Check the weather, how cold is it? Put on clothes that you can run in. It’s ok to add one more layer than you think you need.

Of all the mornings, Tuesday track is when he is the most resistant. He still responds with extra fear of injury, from when I pushed him too hard at the end of a track workout two days after he PRd in a half marathon.

This is typical of our regular dialog:

It’s late now anyway, why bother going?
 It’s ok, you can go and even just do one lap and maybe abs exercises after. You like that part, it’s (kinda) social.

People will judge me for being late.
 No. Maybe a few might make small jabs but only as an encouragement, because they feel close enough to do so. If it helps, consider those who aren’t even there, much less awake. At least you showed up!

But it’s been weeks (months?) since I’ve gone.
 It doesn’t matter, just run a few laps like when you first went to track. It’s getting lighter outside, come on let’s at least catch the sunrise. Ok.

It’s too cold, I can’t breathe up this hill.
 Put the buff over your mouth.

My ears are cold.
 Put the buff over your ears too.

I can’t see, my glasses are fogging up.
 You know every crack in the sidewalk, run lightly with your forefeet and feel the ground beneath them with each step.

Why do I have to go to the bathroom again right when I get to the track?
 Just go and get it done.

The workout is almost over, what’s the point?
 Just go run an easy lap and see how it feels.

That was hard and slow, why am I bothering?
 Take a minute to stretch your calves and hamstrings.

Here comes everyone for the photo, but I only ran one lap.
 Just put your arms around your friends’s shoulders as they are to you and try to smile a little.

Why are abs difficult? I haven’t even worked out really yet.
 Just keep breathing consciously and do as many as you can.

My hands are cold again.
 Put your gloves back on and run another lap.

That felt faster.
 Good! Now stop and stretch for another minute.

Ok I’m ready for another lap.
 Good, take it up a notch.

This feels better, but everyone is passing me, and why is that guy walking in lane 2?
 Never mind him, he’s got something else going on, go around him in lane 3.

Everyone is so much faster, look at that pack of three that just passed me running in tight formation in lane one, how are they doing that?
 Right, watch their form, now let your legs stretch out more like that and pick up the pace. See what you can do on this back straight.

They’re not pulling away!
 Look straight ahead (not at them!) and kick harder!
 [Update: photo of this moment: http://tantek.com/2017/067/t1]

I’m gaining, but I can barely breathe fast enough!
 Keep going, at least until the turn!

I can’t do this!
 You ARE doing this!
 [Update: 0:43 200m PR https://www.strava.com/activities/891049966/segments/21700440693]

I’m running out of breath!
 Take it down a notch and finish out the lap.

I want to walk the last 100.
 Don’t stop! Just push whatever you’ve got left to the finish!

My lungs are burning!
 Close your eyes and just push!

I finished the lap and can't breathe!
 [Update: 1:35 400m PR https://www.strava.com/activities/891049966/segments/21700440706]
 Walk it out! Slow your exhale. Inhale, exhale slower. Inhale, exhale even slower. Walk to the drinking fountain. Inhale, take a drink. Keep slowing your breath.

I think I’m done.
 Try stretching for another minute.

Just one more lap.
 See what you can do on this first 200. Now walk for a bit. Just one more 200 back to the start. Now keep running up and out of the stadium.

Those steps up to the stadium exit weren’t that bad!
 Good! You’re done, jog back to get a coffee (you earned it) and head home to stretch.

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